iCloud Drive

Ac­cess your Mac’s Desk­top and Doc­u­ments fold­ers from any­where

Mac Format - - MAC OS SIERRA -

For a long while, Ap­ple pushed back against tra­di­tional file sys­tems. On iOS, doc­u­ments only lived ‘in­side’ apps. With iCloud, cross-de­vice sync­ing worked well when us­ing the same app on iPad, iPhone and Mac. How­ever, when us­ing mul­ti­ple apps, you had to copy doc­u­ments be­tween them; this of­ten re­sulted in many part-fin­ished files strewn across de­vices.

With iCloud Drive’s in­tro­duc­tion, Ap­ple added a more typ­i­cal file sys­tem to the core iOS ex­pe­ri­ence, and made it ac­ces­si­ble on Macs and iOS de­vices. You can delve into app-spe­cific fold­ers, but also add fold­ers of your own, just like in Fin­der on a Mac. Now, with the re­lease of macOS Sierra, Ap­ple is mak­ing a par­tic­u­larly au­da­cious move re­gard­ing iCloud Drive, en­abling you to keep your Mac’s Desk­top and Doc­u­ments fold­ers on iCloud Drive.

The op­tion to do this is pro­vided when you first set up macOS Sierra, but you can turn it on later in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences’ iCloud pane: click on Op­tions next to iCloud Drive, and in the Doc­u­ments tab put a check mark next to ‘Desk­top & Doc­u­ments Fold­ers’. When this fea­ture is ac­tive, Desk­top and Doc­u­ments ap­pear in the iCloud sec­tion of Fin­der’s side­bar (you can move them back to Fa­vorites if you want), and the doc­u­ments stored in those places will be avail­able ev­ery­where.

And we mean ev­ery­where. On an iOS de­vice, you can open iCloud Drive (which in some ver­sions may re­quire an app that in­cludes its own Doc­u­ment Picker, or go­ing to Set­tings > iCloud > iCloud Drive and switch­ing on ‘Show on Home Screen’). Among Macs us­ing the same Ap­ple ID and with the same set­tings, your doc­u­ments will sync in the back­ground. On a Mac run­ning an older op­er­at­ing sys­tem, you’ll find your files in the Desk­top and Doc­u­ments fold­ers within iCloud Drive. When us­ing a non-Ap­ple de­vice, ac­cess them in the iCloud Drive web app at iCloud.com.

Will it fit you well?

Re­gard­ing the spe­cific fold­ers that sync, Ap­ple rea­sons they’re the most com­mon places for sav­ing files; also, im­ages and other me­dia are al­ready catered for by ex­ist­ing iCloud ser­vices. There are, how­ever, some snags to be mind­ful of be­fore jump­ing in. First, there’s no gran­u­lar­ity what­so­ever at this time. The fea­ture is ei­ther on or off. If you like the idea of sync­ing your Desk­top but not Doc­u­ments, tough. Se­condly, if you reg­u­larly work with mas­sive me­dia files (such as Pho­to­shop doc­u­ments, au­dio record­ings or video), be wary of slow­ing down your in­ter­net con­nec­tion to a crawl as your de­vices try to sync huge doc­u­ments with iCloud Drive.

Fi­nally, what­ever you store in iCloud Drive eats into your iCloud stor­age plan. By de­fault, Ap­ple gives you just 5GB for free, which dis­ap­pears rapidly with a cou­ple of iOS de­vice back­ups, let alone when sync­ing all man­ner of doc­u­ments from your Mac. That said, the con­ve­nience of more eas­ily ac­cess­ing files will for many be worth a few quid each month.

It’s an au­da­cious move of Ap­ple to put these cru­cial fold­ers in iCloud

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